By T. C. Mcclenning
July 2 marks the 2010 halfway point. Are you at least halfway to your annual sales goals? Now that the Extended and Expanded Home Buyer Tax Credit has officially ended and we are in the heart of the summer selling season, how are you progressing in 2010? And where do your business systems stand?
Was one of your goals to learn and begin using social media for networking? Or to start a weekly blog? Have you made headway in continuing to hone and improve your business this year? Have you developed and regularly worked your prospects, past client database, and farms?
Now more than ever, it is essential to be on top of your marketing and publicity promotions in order to finish 2010 strong. Without the appeal of the $8,000 tax credit, potential first-time homebuyers may fade into the woodwork. Many agents and companies may have spent time, marketing efforts, and money focusing on first time buyers. Perhaps it’s time to begin an educational and helpful promotion program to target move-up homebuyers.
Know Your Market
Are you closely monitoring home inventory levels, average days on the market, average home sales prices, new home construction activity, the local economy, and unemployment levels in your city or region? Any improvement in these areas, especially if it’s seen in the last couple months or more, should be a message you repeatedly communicate to your market. It can be an excellent way to counteract all the negative hype your potential homebuyers and sellers are constantly hearing in the media.
When and why television news and newspapers got so completely tainted and obsessed with only reporting negative or bad news, is a question of some debate. You must help serve as the counter-balance. Do everything possible to keep reporting any positive economic and real estate industry news and statistics. After all, you are more the expert on the real estate industry than the five o’clock news TV anchor.
Interpret the News
Don’t be afraid to get radical here or to use multiple outlets. Consider writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or magazine. Check into the possibility of doing a guest editorial. Contact that local news talk radio station that only wants to concentrate on the “sky is falling” message and ask for an interview or airtime to present a different side. Tweet brief updates and messages. Write multiple blog entries and get the message out when you post a new blog topic. Write a letter to potential and past clients. Find statistics to back up your opinion.
If housing inventory has gone down 15% since this time last year, use it and describe how this is positioning the market to eventually be a seller’s market again. If home prices have remained steady for the last few months, mention this and explain how it supports the beginning of stabilization in your real estate market. If your local media has been slow on reporting improvements in your market, you should do it. Such news is too important to leave unannounced.
News outlets practically kill themselves to be the first to report some latest statistic that’s been released, particularly if it is negative. However, they almost always fail to then translate what this means to the general public or to the local economy. Foreclosure rates are a good example. Unfortunately, in addition to your many other real estate duties, this job falls to you if you have any hope of turning negative opinions around about the real estate market. It won’t happen overnight, but it can happen with persistent and regular messages.
Make a Change
Therefore, if you’re in a quandary about how to finish 2010 strong with the slower half of the home sales season in sight, consider tweaking or stepping up your marketing promotions. The midyear point is a great to assess if you’re on track to meet your current goals and it’s also an opportunity to look at how and where you need to change or step up your approach.
And, if you’re a real estate agent who hasn’t updated his/her approach in the last five years, consider this the challenge—the double-dare if you will!—to implement something new into your business model and promotions program.
Immerse yourself in a new market segment, learn and use the many new technologies to promote yourself and your listings, and find better and more effective ways to communicate with the home-buying public.
It’s not too late. Six months is a long time. You have 26 weeks. More than 1,000 work hours. Will you look back on 2010 with regret or with pride at what you accomplished? Make 2010 memorable for all the right reasons.
TC McClenning has spent 15 years working with real estate professionals in PR and marketing consulting. Follow TC at @RealtorPR or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s Your #1 Marketing Tool Post Tax Credit?
“The price must not be inflated. Repairs [to the home] should be made that are necessary, and frequent open houses should be held.”
Louise Ciaraldi, Methuen
“Company advertisements in several local real estate publications [helps boost our business].”
Susan Whitehead, Acushnet
“My Experience! The tax credit was a big help, but the Seller has always seemed to hire me for my knowledge and experience. For new agents it can be their knowledge of marketing trends, technology, and their work ethic. We all have tools in our back pockets. We just need to know how to present them effectively.”
Valerie McGillivray, Newburyport
“Be honest with a client so there are no disappointments or false expectations.”
Colleena Abreu, Lowell